MPG sets expansion in motion

The Media Planning Group will open offices in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon next year as part of a long-term plan to make the media agency a truly global network. Alfonso Rodes Vila, chief corporate development

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By  Tim Addington Published  November 20, 2005

The Media Planning Group will open offices in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon next year as part of a long-term plan to make the media agency a truly global network. Alfonso Rodes Vila, chief corporate development officer at MPG, said the “booming” Middle East market meant expanding its operations was essential. In June this year, EuroRSCG Promopub, part of the Spanish Havas network, announced plans to spin its Dubai-based media business off under the MPG brand. “We wanted to be here because we needed to be here,” said Rodes Vila. “The Middle East is a booming region and we want to become a global network. We thought it was the right moment to start in the Middle East. Dubai is the first step. Next year we are going to open an operation in Saudi Arabia and then Lebanon and Egypt in 2007.” The agency claims to be the sixth largest in the region, based on its own research, and says it is unconcerned about matching the revenue generation of its larger competitors such as Starcom and OMD. “We are not obsessed about the size and volume. We are obsessed about keeping the trust of our clients. If volume comes then fantastic, but we are not obsessed with that,” said Rodes Vila. “In the service business there is always room for a new company, if a new one will do it in a different way. But we are about quality and doing things in a different way.” He continued: “We try to offer more trust than our competitors, the rest depends on methodology and tools. We believe in making more of the long-term relationships with the client, and that is only possible if you have the trust of the clients.” Pierre Soued, managing director at MPG Dubai, said that the agency’s staff of 18 would be increased to 21 by early next year and all would receive specialist training from MPG. “Three groups of people have been to Barcelona and New York. At the end of the month, two research specialists from Madrid are coming to train the whole team. This is very essential,” Soued said. MPG’s regional clients include Chanel and Saks Fifth Avenue and Rodes Vila said the agency would go “door to door” to see clients it represented in other parts of the world to convince them to join MPG in the Middle East.

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